Gabrielle Bisset

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First Review of Vampire Dreams!

Shah Wharton has the distinction of being the first blogger to review Vampire Dreams, and I am thrilled to say she loved it!  You can check out her review at her blog, WordsinSync.  Thank you, Shah, for not only giving it such a glowing review but for taking the time to read it.  I appreciate it so much. 

The official release date for Vampire Dreams is June 10, but readers can get an early copy at Smashwords, so click over there to grab one.  If you prefer to purchase from Amazon, it will be there on June 10.  :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Great news!

Although its official release isn't until June 10, Vampire Dreams is available on Smashwords now.  Since I was unsure how long it would take and how much I'd screw up when I began formatting things, I decided to just bite the bullet and begin.  Well, a couple hours later and voila! Vampire Dreams is for sale at Smashwords.  Now I have to tackle Amazon so I can get it up there too.  And then Barnes and Noble. And then AllRomance. But if they're anywhere as clear as Smashwords was, it should be easy peasy.  (Famous last words...)

Also on the great news front, I got word yesterday from someone I'd sent a copy of the book to that her review is complete.  She gave me a sneak peak, and I'm thrilled to say she loved it!  I'm not a squee kind of girl, but this calls for one.  :D  Thanks Shah! 

Finally, I also got great news about the cover for Love's Master.  The wonderful Elaina Lee sent me the proof for it, and it's almost done.  Just an apostrophe and a quick font change for my name, and it will be ready for the world.  I can't wait to put it up! It's S-E-X-Y!  Now I have to get to typing the book so I can get it up at all the outlets for its mid-July release.

So if you have $1.99 and you feel like some sexy reading, head on over to Smashwords and pick up a copy of Vampire Dreams while you sit at the barbeque enjoying your hot dog and potato salad. 

Have a great weekend!   

Stolen Destiny Book Trailer

Here's the book trailer for Stolen Destiny, due out from Siren Publishing on June 29!  It's up on YouTube now, so I'd love it if you'd go check it out and give it a like and a comment. Thanks!  :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

18 & Over Book Blogger Tag Along

It's a sultry night in the northeast, and the thunder and lightning is all around me as I type this. Let's hope I don't lose my electricity.   Welcome to my blog, and if you're a new follower, please leave a comment so I can hop by your place. And old followers, I always love to hear from you.  Have a wonderful weekend!

The 18 & Over Book Blogger Tag Along is hosted by Bitten by Paranormal Romance  It's a great chance for those of us who read adult books to find others like them.  Thanks to Laurie for hosting this! If you haven't joined in yet, stop over there and add your name!  I always find a new read to add to my TBR pile at the sites on this hop, so be sure to visit everyone. 

This week's question: Please tell us a little about yourself and what you read.

I have two children, one of whom I home school (along with some help from math, science, and music tutors--I am almost completely unskilled in these areas!). I have a master's degree in history and a bachelor's degree in English, in addition to certification to teach both in high school.  I choose to teach at the college level because I have more freedom that way. I've been a college history faculty member at a local campus of a big university for over a decade.  When I'm not teaching my child or other people's, I write erotic romance books.  My first two over there in the right sidebar are coming out in June and my second two are coming out in July and August.  In addition, I plan to have two more released this fall.  (I've been writing for a while but only recently have I decided to pursue the dream I put off for years.) 

I read romance, particularly paranormal, historical, and erotic (or any combination of the three).  I also read mysteries, anything about European and British history, and adore cookbooks since I love to cook.

Author Blog Hop 5-26

It's Thursday again, so it's time for the Author Blog Hop, hosted by Sassy Brit at Alternative  Each week a question is posed, and authors post their answers.  Then everyone hops along!

This week's question:
Put on your reader's hat.  When shopping for a book, what do you look at to help you make a decision whether or not to purchase?  How important is the cover art compared to the blurb?

As a reader, the most important thing to me is the blurb, although I'm a little different from many people.  I don't need that little bit on the back to set my world on fire.  I always cringe when I read people's ideas on blurbs as if the "hook" is paramount.  I don't want gimmicks.  I want a good story.  And can it please be about what's actually in the book?  Nothing is more infuriating than to find out after you've purchased the book that the blurb on the back wasn't really what the book was about.  It's like being fooled by movie trailers, which always seem to show the best parts of the film but often those parts aren't directly related to the main plot. 

However, I know cover art is very important these days.  It doesn't change my interest in a book negatively, but it may add to my interest.  And true confessions time:  As an author, I love the cover art process!  I've had a ball with the two covers I  have for my June releases, and I just began the process for my July novella release.  I told the artist that aside from the actual writing, which is my favorite part, the cover art process is the most fun I have when I'm getting ready to put out a book.  So I understand completely the love of covers.  They just don't make or break the deal for me, as a reader. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ROW 80 Check In 5-25

I'm loving life this week and a great deal of the credit goes to how many words I've written.  Over 5000 words alone on Saturday.  It blows the doors off my 3500 a week goal, and I couldn't be more thrilled.  I'm enjoying writing my new novella, which I've decided is called Masquerade, and I'm gearing up for edits on the previous novella, Love's Master.  Already I'm thinking, "What will I do after Masquerade?"  Of course, there is the editing stage for Destiny Redeemed, which I plan to release in September.  And there's the third book in the Destined Ones Series, Destiny Unbound, which I plan to finish and release either by the end of this year or the beginning (January) of next year.  But....

I've been feeling a novella vibe recently, and I like the size right now.  Perhaps another novella? Who knows?  What I do know is that I've never been happier doing what I'm doing.  That means a lot to me.

On another entirely enjoyable front, the artist who designs my covers, Elaina Lee, emailed me the proof for Love's Master, and it's HOT.  She's so incredibly talented, but in addition, she makes the cover art process so wonderful.  With just a little information (and one of the hottest couples I've ever seen in a picture), she worked her magic and made my day yesterday.  I can't wait to put the final up on the blog to show it off. 

I also spent hours yesterday on the PDF for the blog tour with Bewitching Book Tours for the first novella, Vampire Dreams.  Why hours, you ask? Because I type too fast.  I had two editors do their fine tooth comb business on it last week, and they did the "How can she be in this place at this time and then this place at the same time?" work. Then I did a final sweep through.  The problem is that I type so fast that I make little mistakes, such as every for ever (that's a favorite).  Since I hate typing more than most, I try to get it done quickly.  Yes, I know this is a mistake, but each time I do it, I convince myself that this time I'll do it better.  My critique partner can always tell when it was the end of a typing session since that section of the story will have far more typos than others.  :) 

I finally finished the PDF this morning and sent it off, still worried there was a mistake I missed in there.  For me, perfection in this area is a must. 

It's a beautiful day here in PA, and I think I'll reward myself for a job well done with a day outside.  I hope you have a great day too.  To see more of what other ROW 80 people are up to, click HERE

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hopping and Following 5-19

Another Thursday night, another chance to reach out to others in the reading and writing community.  I didn't realize how much I like hopping around until Blogger had its meltdown last week.  I'm glad it's back up and running so I can check out other people and what they're reading and writing.  If you're a new follower, please leave a comment so I can hop by your place. And old followers, I always love to hear from you.  Have a wonderful weekend!

First up is the 18 & Over Book Blogger Tag Along hosted by Bitten by Paranormal Romance  It's a great chance for those of us who read adult books to find others like them.  Thanks to Laurie for hosting this! If you haven't joined in yet, stop over there and add your name!

This week's question: Did you set yourself a reading goal?
I don't set myself a reading goal only because as a writer, I often don't have as much time as I'd like to read.  I used to read so much more (hangs head in shame), but now I have to fit in books where time allows between writing, editing, and promoting.  I'm hoping once my three novellas and two books are all finally released (all scheduled for before November) that I'll be able to get back to reading like a fiend again. 

Next up is Elizabeth Sharp's Follow Friday for Writers.  Thanks Elizabeth!  This one's for anyone who writes, including anyone who writes a blog.  This week's question: If you could spend a day with an any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Since I'm an author who writes erotic romance, I assume most people would guess that I would mention a writer who excels in my genre.  As much as I think meeting Robin Schone, Tina Folsom, or Charlotte Featherstone would be incredibly interesting, my answer is a bit more old school.  If I could spend a day with any author, it would be William Shakespeare. 

No one before or after Shakespeare has captured the spectrum of human emotions like he did.  Pick any of his plays or sonnets and watch the emotional fireworks explode.  From the jealously of Iago and the betrayal of Othello to the tortured soul of Hamlet, the playfulness of Beatrice and Benedick, and the foolishness of youth in Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare mined the depths of the human spirit.  There's a reason his works are still as relevant today as they were hundreds of years ago.  They touch on feelings each and every person can relate to intimately. You don't have to love romance to enjoy watching his lovers come together.  You don't have to enjoy war to feel the power of the characters in his histories. You don't have to be a sadsack to feel the loss in his tragedies.  I don't think one day would be enough to get in all the questions I would have to ask, but I'd take that one day and use it well.

Joanne Troppello Guest Post

I'm pleased to welcome author Joanne Troppello to my blog today.  Joanne is a mystery and inspirational romance author, and her newest book is Mr.  Shipley's Governess.  Be sure to read the excerpt she's included at the end of her post for a taste of the story. 

Are your characters made of flesh and blood?

How do you create unique three-dimensional characters that will stay with your readers long after they finish reading your book?  You need to make your character just like a real person not some fictional flat character that no one will remember.  This technique begins with people watching.  You need to figure out why people act the way they do.  What do people want out of life?  How do people deal with struggles?  What makes humans real and not robotic?

Of course, as you write your story, the plot line will move along but to make the characters extraordinary, you need to let your characters tell the story—and be memorable.  Readers need to get inside the characters’ heads and feel what they are feeling and know what they are thinking.  If you’re only telling a storyline, you’re not writing an unforgettable book. 

You first need the basics:  male or female, age (at least generally speaking like mid-twenties, middle-aged etc.), what’s the character’s job and basic physical appearance as well as personality.  Once you get the basics then the fun part begins.  Now you get to flesh out your characters.  Make sure you give your character a problem; whether it is an emotional, physical or spiritual one.  

What’s in a name…Naming your characters is very important as well.  One of the minor characters in my book, Mr. Shipley’s Governess is the butler and I thought about naming him James; however, that’s stereotypical of a butler.  I ended up calling him Nigel—British sounding but less like a butler.  The heroine, Sophie, her name did not have any meaning to me.  The hero, however, I called Sebastian Shipley.  I was going for a name fit for a dashing, yet modern gentleman.  It’s your decision on whether or not you utilize stereotypes for characters, but that won’t be very interesting to your readers and it’s especially not a good idea for your main characters.  You can use some stereotypes, but the point of writing memorable characters is for you to step outside of the box and create interesting, believable, three-dimensional people. 

What is your character’s personality like?  Is he a strong type A person?  Is she more laidback and impulsive?  Don’t just say Sophie is laidback; show that she is.  Show her actions that she is more relaxed and not easily bothered by change.  Set her up in scenes where you can show her impetuous side and that she might drag the more reserved, Sebastian, out on an impromptu date.  What are the mannerisms and habits your character will exhibit?  You need to show these to your readers. 
People are not perfect.  If you thought that then maybe you’re living on another planet.  So why would you make your characters perfect?  That makes them unbelievable and that will defeat your ultimate purpose of creating the unforgettable novel.  So what problems does your character have?  Maybe he has anger issues or she has problems trusting men.  That will affect their relationships.  You need to get this out into your storyline and create scenes where such issues can be fleshed out, not just told to the readers.

Writing in deep POV is extremely helpful in achieving success in your writing.  Jump into the mind of your character and bring your reader with you.  As you write, it’s very effective to keep to one character’s POV per scene.  If you head hop to another character, just make sure that it doesn’t jar the readers out of the scene into a tailspin of confusion.  You want every aspect of your story to flow together seamlessly so that your readers are fully engaged and not confused, wanting to put the book down and not finish reading. 

Do you know what motivates your characters?  If you don’t know, you’ll never be able to get that across to your readers in a believable fashion.  Is your character motivated by greed or love or bitterness?  There are so many different aspects of character motivation that you can utilize.  If he or she is motivated by greed, what made this character live like that?  Share that catalyst and it will be another great factor to draw the readers in to the story. 

One of the best ways to know if your characters are believable is to ask yourself:  do you remember your characters?  Do you want to read more stories about them?  The likelihood that you care about your characters will mean that others will too.  Always be open to learn new techniques for character development and don’t shy away from editors.  Meticulous editing will assist you, if you’re willing to take constructive criticism, in writing the best novel.  For Mr. Shipley’s Governess, I had two awesome editors through a two year period of writing / editing, who helped me see critical aspects of proper writing techniques that I was missing.  Sure, I could have ignored their assistance, but I wanted my writing to be my best.

How do you flesh out believable three-dimensional characters?  Are there any memorable characters from books you’ve read that have stayed with you long after reading the story? 

I’d love to hear from you.  All commenters today will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my eBook, Mr. Shipley’s Governess.  Thank you so much for stopping by.   

Excerpt from Mr. Shipley’s Governess

Sebastian leaned against the doorframe of the library, amused that Sophie continued reading, oblivious to his intrusion.  He watched her scrunch up her face in consternation, engrossed in the book.  “So, who do you like better, me or Mr. Knightly?”  He heard her sharp intake of breath.  She nearly dropped the book as she turned to look at her intruder.

“Definitely, that would be Mr. Knightly; he doesn’t have the habit of sneaking up on me.”

Sebastian sauntered into the room and sat in the chair opposite her.  “Yes, he’s so charming.  I hope to someday be like him.”

“Hey, don’t make fun.  He is the epitome of the perfect gentleman.”

“Actually, I’m serious.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve read the same book as you.  It must be a coincidence.”

Sophie smiled.  “Really…you’re just trying to get on my good side.”

He leaned forward in mock surprise.  “Huh, I thought I was on your good side already.”

“That depends on my mood.”

“I see.  You’re all about a woman’s prerogative.”

“Yes, I live by that rule.”

He played along, enjoying the playful banter.  “Oh, so you’re one of those.”

“You’d better believe it.  It’s my prerogative to change my mind whenever I want.”

He fluidly maneuvered his way to the ottoman where her feet rested and he sat down.  “I hope you don’t change your mind about me.”

“Well, that all depends on you.”

“I’d better be on my best behavior then.”

Sophie got up quickly and before he realized it, she walked across the room to the bookshelf.  “So, you really read Emma, too.  That’s still surprising and sweet.”

He followed her.  “You’re avoiding any serious conversation, young lady.”

She moved away, running her finger along the spines of the books.  He kept following, backing her into a corner.  She leaned her hands against the windowsill and backed up as far as possible.  She laughed nervously.  “So, tell me again why you interrupted me.”

“I did it because I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now.”  He cupped her face, tracing the outline of her lips with his thumb.  Then he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her gently, at first, but soon his fervor matched hers.  She put her arms around his neck and moved in closer.  Finally, they pulled away from each other, both breathless.  “I…I’m sorry.”

She touched his cheek.  “Don’t be.  I’ve wanted you to do that for a long time, too.”

He squeezed her hand. “I should get back to work.  David’s going to wonder what happened to me.”

Sophie gave him a flirty smile. “Oh, I’m sure he knows.”

“Now try not to compare me too much to Mr. Knightly because there’s no contest, really.”

As he walked out of the room, he still felt the warmth of her lips on his and the softness of her body in his arms.  He chided himself.  “Shake it off, man.”  Then he walked down the hall in search of his brother.

To find out more about Joanne, visit her online.

Author Blog Hop 5-19

It's Thursday again, so it's time for the Author Blog Hop, hosted by Sassy Brit at Alternative  Each week a question is posed, and authors post their answers.  Then everyone hops along!

This week's question: What's an average day of writing for you?
It all depends on what day it is.  If it's a weekday, I don't write until nighttime because in the mornings I home school my son and then in the afternoons I go to work to teach other people's children.  If it's Saturday, I begin writing at around 10 am.  Whenever I begin, I hand write everything, so I sit on my bed with my notebook and pen, a large glass of iced tea, and music playing in the background.  When I get situated, I begin by reading over what I wrote the previous day to see where I was going and what mindset I was in.  I do a brief edit session after I read over the pages, checking for grammar issues, repetition, and incomplete thoughts. When I've cleaned things up a bit and expanded on things I'd left unfinished, it's time to begin. 

Because handwriting a scene or chapter takes longer than typing it, I have time to think through the characters' actions and motivations, their dialogue, and the action taking place.  I find this works well for me because I may get 4-5 pages written in a few hours or up to 25 pages written on a Saturday or Sunday. (Admittedly, while I may not take a break when I write at night, I do take a break during the weekend 12 hour marathon.  Usually, I take an hour or two off to exercise and grab a bite to eat.)

When I can sit down and relax with my writing, whether at night after a long day or on a weekend morning, everything else in the world seems to disappear and all that's left is me, my ideas, and the notebook and pen. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ROW 80 Check In 5-18

Welcome to Wednesday and another check in with ROW 80.  So much is going on with having two books coming out in June that writing is fighting with promotion for equal time.  I think if someone asked me what I thought was the biggest surprise about having a book published, I would have to answer the promotion that goes into it. 

I can say I see the issue from both sides since I'm self-publishing my first novella, Vampire Dreams, on June 10 and am being published by Siren for my novel, Stolen Destiny, on June 29.  As far as I can tell, it's the same process for the author.  I'm expected to do the lion's share of publicity for the book with the publisher, and I'm doing all the publicity for my indie book. 

Thankfully, I didn't go into this thinking it was 1955 and publishers catered to authors.  (Ok, settle down.  Wipe the soda from your face and make sure it isn't still coming out of your nose. Did you get any on the screen?)  I'm a hands-on kind of gal (do my own home improvement, home school my son), so this promotion work isn't anything I can't handle.  It is, however, taking away time from the writing. 

This week I finalized the edits for Vampire Dreams, which is set to release on June 10.  I'm so excited about that!  Coming in a little under 20,000 words, it's the first in a trilogy of erotic novellas set in Victorian England.  It's the only one out of the three that's paranormal (the other two are straight up historical). 

I also completed Love's Master, the second novella in the trilogy.  Editing will begin in a week or so, but for now, I'm very pleased with this story. It's an historical, but with a twist:  it involves BDSM (pretty light stuff, in truth, but yummy). 

Finally, I began the last novella, as of yet untitled.  I'm about eight pages into it, and I'm loving it already!  Now you see why I'm wishing my time didn't have to be so devoted to promotion. 

I'm so thankful for the bloggers and authors who have extended me a welcome to come to their blogs and talk about my books.  Expect to see them here at my blog because I'm all about reciprocity--people helping one another can get a lot done. 

So what's the final tally?  Final edits done on Vampire Dreams.  Ten pages done in Love's Master (about 2500 words).  Seven pages completed in new novella (about 1750 words).  Met my writing goal this week. :D  And much hobnobbing with others on the promotional front. 

For a look at how others in ROW 80 are doing, click HERE.  Have a great day, and take the time to enjoy what you're doing.  It makes a world of difference. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Getting Ready For Summer Releases (Yes, Mine)

For me, the business end of the author's world is where the work happens.  The writing is pure joy.  Love it.  Then it comes time to get the word out about your books.  However, I've been fortunate to have some very nice people, many of them fellow authors, offer me time on their blogs, so I'm thankful for that. 

I've created a page with a list of where I'm scheduled to appear so far.  I plan to add more, particularly when I begin to request reviews from the list of bloggers I've compiled, but for now, take a look and check out where I'll be talking up Stolen Destiny and my two novellas, Vampire Dreams and Love's Master, in addition to discussing everything from paranormal romance, BDSM, and writing erotica based in Victorian times and character interviews with Varek from Stolen Destiny, Brandon and Arden from Vampire Dreams, and Kadar from Love's Master.  For all this, click on Upcoming Appearances.

It looks to be a great summer! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's Official!

Siren has put Stolen Destiny on its release calendar for June 29. It will join Vampire Dreams that month, which I plan to release on June 10, so it's going to be a busy month.   In addition, I'll be interviewed at Felicity Heaton's blog on June 22 and giving a character interview with my hero from Stolen Destiny, Varek, at Rochelle Weber's blog on June 26. 

Also, I'll be guest blogging on July 1 at Lindsay Below's blog and giving another character interview at Karenna Colcroft's blog with Brandon and Arden from Vampire Dreams on July 5. 

I'm also looking into a blog tour for at least one of the books, so that may be in the works soon.  I plan to create a page in the near future that will list where everywhere I'm appearing, but for now, I'm just excited to finally have a date pinned down. 

Finally, I'm going to be requesting reviews from a number of bloggers (I have some lined up already, but I'll be looking for more) for both books, so if you're interested in one or both, email me at

Here are the blurbs for both to give you a taste:

Stolen Destiny:  Released from Nil to find a murderer, a prison-hardened Varek Leale is convinced no woman deserves the man he’s become, but his Aeveren destiny makes him succumb to sweet and sexy Callia Reynolds.  To catch the murderer, they turn to Amon Kalins, an ancient Aeveren with the power to control time. But Amon isn’t a man to trifle with and when he wants something, he’ll use his considerable powers, devastating charm, and good looks to get it. 

What Amon wants is Callia. When he manipulates time and seduces Callia away, Varek must turn to the people who set him free for help to get her back.  But the Council doesn’t do anything without requiring something in return, and what they want is Amon Kalins, one of the most powerful Aeveren ever.  Varek will do what he must to capture him and find Callia because if he doesn’t, she’ll be lost to him for untold lifetimes.  (Stolen Destiny is a full length novel.)

Vampire Dreams:  Homeless and without any family, Arden Stephens must live on the streets of mid 19th century London, never a safe place for a young woman.  One night, as she is running for her life from an attacker, she is rescued by Brandon Ridley and offered a place in his home as his maid.  Brandon is enchanted by Arden from the moment they meet, but just as she has secrets, so too does he.  A vampire hundreds of years old, he yearns for the companionship she can give him.  But for that he must make her one of his kind.

Nightly, he visits her in her sleep, preparing her for the night he will finally make her his own.  For Arden, the wanton dreams she has about her handsome employer seduce her and each day when she wakes up, she finds herself more drawn to him.  But love and desire aren't enough for Brandon to sire her.  He must first obtain the approval of his maker, an ancient vampire named Vasilije who has thwarted his chance for happiness before.

But if Brandon can convince him, he may finally find the love he's been without for centuries. (Vampire Dreams is a novella.)

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Business Of Business Is What?

I recently decided to leave Verizon for my cell phone, home phone, and internet service, in addition to DISH network for my television.  I got a better deal somewhere else, and I really wouldn't have left DISH if it weren't for that.  Verizon, on the other hand, is a totally different story.  Verizon I was looking to leave for a while. 

The problem I had with Verizon focused on their business plan, or at least what I can fathom is their plan.  I went with Verizon, at one time for all the services I just listed, because they delivered great prices with great customer service.  However, then over the years, the DSL got slower and slower to the point that there were times I couldn't get the pages of blogs to load.  I don't care how much I'm paying, that's unacceptable.  In addition, their cell service charges were just out of this world compared to the other companies, and their claim that their service is better than everyone else's wasn't convincing.  So when I found a better price, I took it and happily left Verizon. 

I had to call this morning to make sure everything was finished with both DISH network and Verizon.  The DISH network people couldn't have been nicer.  They wanted to know why I was leaving their company, and when I explained that it was just a matter of money, they explained that they hope I'll return someday and that I'm always welcome back as I was a great customer.  (They like people who pay their bills, I guess.  I don't think I've ever done anything extraordinary as their customer.)

Verizon's behavior was entirely different.  I was shuffled around to three people and left on hold for 5 minutes.  This is nothing new in my experience with Verizon, but it irritated me, nonetheless.  When I finally reached the last person, his tone could at best be described as disinterested and at worst rude.  No thanks for being a customer since we were so much smaller than AT&T but you went with us anyway because we offered great prices.  No we hope you'll come back someday.  No thank you at all. 

I tell this story because it seems to me that Verizon has gotten very much like so many other companies, including those I encounter in publishing.  The customer is always touted as someone important, but in reality, companies like Verizon and publishers like the big NY boys arbitrarily decide what they think people should have, and it doesn't seem like it's based on their potential to make money.  If Verizon's decisions were based on success in the long term, they wouldn't allow a customer to leave them to have their three cell phone lines, one home phone line, and internet service with another company. Keep in mind that I've called Verizon a number of times to ask them if there was anything that could be done about my slow internet and the prices I was paying for all their services, particularly my cell phones.  Their answer each time was "No," and one time a snappy little Verizon tart even took the time to inform me that "Verizon doesn't price match."  Well, chicka, that's a mistake because other companies are now getting my money and my loyalty. 

Likewise, if the big 4 or 5 traditional publishers were truly interested in making money instead of jealously guarding the gate to make sure only books they like get through, they could be making a ton of money.  Instead, these companies make foolish decisions based on a snobbery about what is acceptable that should have left them ages ago.  Their decisions seem better suited to some archaic business plan straight out of the roaring 80s. And the temerity of them to charge upwards of $10 to $15 to get a book on my Kindle!  (I suspect they think they're going to kill that facet of the business so they can go back to being BMOC concerning the books customers read and how they read them, but that train left the station ages ago.) As if much of what is being published by the big boys is that good.  Sorry, all too often it isn't.  For every self-pubbed disaster story they can offer, I can offer one of their books that contains editing problems or is just plain poorly written.

All of this makes me wonder just what the business of these businesses is.  Have they decided to abandon the idea of making money in favor of some snobbery that they're so important that customers won't leave them?  Word to the wise, ladies and gentlemen who run these companies:  we customers can and will leave you in a New York minute.  The federal government may believe there are companies that are too big to fail, but we don't. 

ROW 80 Check In 5-11

Another Wednesday and another ROW 80 check in.  I've completed one of my goals by editing Stolen Destiny and getting it back to the publisher, so that feels good.  I'm almost finished editing Vampire Dreams, and in addition to pruning a bit, I've added almost seven pages to the manuscript.  Originally, I had planned on it being at most 15,000 words, but I've since changed my mind, so it's grown a bit to almost 20,000.  My publication date is set for June 10, so formatting for the various outlets comes next.

The second novella, Love's Master, is shaping up nicely.  I will finish it this week, and then editing begins.  I plan to publish in July.  It's looking like it will end up at around 25,000, if not a few thousand more.  Elaina, the fabulous artist who will be doing the cover for this one just as she did with Vampire Dreams, has me in queue, so the cover will be coming in a little bit. 

And the third novella, which has no title as of yet, I fleshed out with the help of my critique partner last Friday, so I'm chomping at the bit to get at that one. I'm trying to keep myself in line and finish Love's Master first, but it's difficult when so many ideas for this third one are just bubbling up in my brain.  I'd like to have this one finished, edited, and published by summer's end. 

I don't know how many words I've written since last Wednesday since much of my time has been spent editing, but assuming I wrote seven pages, I'm coming in at right around 1800.  My goal was 3500 a week, but with all the editing and promoting  I've been doing (I didn't even mention the promotion efforts...Twitter, blogging, creating widgets--that calendar countdown widget in the upper right hand corner is something I did the other day--emailing other bloggers about swapping takes almost as much time as writing!), I'm ok with a little less writing because I know the publicity is necessary.  However, I'd much rather be writing than anything else.  :)

I hope everyone is having a great week!  To see how everyone else is doing, click HERE.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Banishing The Negativity Demon

I commented on another author's blog this morning about banishing the toxic elements from our lives, particularly our writing lives, and then I opened my email and BAM! There was some toxic waste like no other. 

Without getting too much into it because I'm sure I would offend someone and I'd like to avoid that, I entered my book, Stolen Destiny, into a couple writing contests a while back.  It's a long story, but a friend convinced me that if a regency romance in which the heroine and hero are named Goodly and Wicked could do well, mine would be fine.  I found out right after I submitted my entries that Siren had offered me a contract, so it was a moot point anyway since neither contest was open to published authors. 

I received the judges' scores from the first contest a while back and saw that, in fact, my dear manuscript was not fine in the hands of these people.  Because I don't conform to the quite strict "rules" of romance writing, they didn't appreciate the story; at least that's what their comments indicated.  My hero is terribly flawed, and my heroine isn't feisty enough (hint: she's not a pain in the ass who continually gets in the hero's way); I don't adhere to the strict POV rules that seem to govern romance stories, except for those written by Nora Roberts (I prefer the much freer style like Roberts' that seems far more natural to me for my novel length stories); and the sex in my stories is steamy (one judge had a problem with the word cock--said it was a modern word and seemed odd in a flashback to the late 1700s--I won't even comment on such a statement). 

Today's email was much like the first.  They don't like the POV style, mainly.  The hero issue didn't bother them so much. But the sex made their knickers bunch up. 

Just like after the first email, I felt the negativity begin to settle into my brain.  Then a friend of mine reminded me that this is a very parochial organization that runs these contests, and in the end, I have to be true to myself.  He's quite right about the parochial nature of the group.  I didn't realize this when I began entering these contests, but the comments show me that clearly they are all about heaving bosoms and turgid manhoods in only a few chosen time periods with cookie cutter heroes and heroines. (Ugh! That may appeal to some, but if that's what makes something "good", then I'm happy to be different. My books would NEVER have the people in today's pic on the cover. NEVER...EVER.) 

So what have I learned from my experiences?  Being different can be painful, but I refuse to be someone I'm not.  Also, critiques full of typos, written by people who haven't been published and write in a genre that includes no real sex are not what should make or break an erotic romance writer's day.  However, I must seriously question an organization established to promote writing that has typos in its monthly magazine, typos in its official emails, and allows people who write children's books to judge paranormal romance contests that writers pay money to enter. 

Now it's back to writing.  Maybe I should enter my novellas into the contests. They do follow the strict POV rules.  But alas, there is more steaminess in them too.  And that nasty modern word!  ;)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Welcome to the 21st Century, Gabrielle

So I decided to enter the 21st century and get on Twitter. If you knew me, you'd know this is a big deal since I just got a phone that does more than call and text last week! I'm a little old school, I admit. I don't know if I'll ever be as popular as Charlie Sheen on Twitter, but that's ok. There's an adorable little pic on the right sidebar above followers that you can click on and follow me, so feel free and I'll follow back. And I've added the little buttons underneath each post so you can tweet or facebook any of my posts. 

This 21st century stuff is nice....and there are no silver jumpsuits or flying cars at all. (I'm actually a little bummed about the no flying cars thing.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hopping and Following

First up is the 18 & Over Book Blogger Tag Along hosted by Bitten by Paranormal Romance  It's a great chance for those of us who read adult books to find others like them.  Thanks to Laurie for hosting this! If you haven't joined in yet, stop over there and add your name!

This week's question: List three books off the top of your head that you read this year and you really enjoyed.
Gabriel's Mate-Tina Folsom
Taken Series-Lyla Sinclair
Blood Sin-Marie Treanor

Next up is Elizabeth Sharp's Follow Friday for Writers.  Thanks Elizabeth!  This one's for anyone who writes, including anyone who writes a blog.  This week's question: What moment has validated you and made you feel like a writer?

I was lucky to find someone early on who I can trust to read my work and grind through things.  I don't know if it was validation, but I definitely felt like a writer when I began to share my work with her.  Then being offered a contract by a publisher for Stolen Destiny certainly made me feel like a writer, and no matter what's happened with that experience, the feeling of reading that email that said "We would like to publish your book" will always be a fantastic one.  Finally, when readers leave comments on my excerpts, I feel very much like a writer. 

To see everyone else's answer, hop around!

If you're a new follower, please leave a comment so I can hop by your place. And old followers, I always love to hear from you.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More Cover Love Today

Despite the difficulties the publisher and I have had, it looks like Stolen Destiny will still have a June release.  I've been given the date of June 29, so let's all think good thoughts.  I sent back the edits yesterday, and they sent me the cover art today.  The original cover I posted a few weeks ago indicated that the book was the first in a series, but since I'm going to be publishing the rest of the series elsewhere, they had to adjust things slightly.  The result is this cover. 

Whatever problems I've had with the publisher, I can't say enough wonderful things about the designer, Jinger Heaston. She took what I sent in the cover questionnaire and knocked it out of the park.  Thanks Jinger!  I couldn't have asked for a better cover for Varek, Callia, and Amon (Varek's the stunning, shirtless one.).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vampire Dreams Cover Love

Here is the cover for my novella, Vampire Dreams, due out in June.  Cover artist Elaina Lee did it for me, and I love it!  Thank you so much Elaina!  She does such wonderful work, doesn't she? For more information on the story, click HERE.  :) 

ROW 80 Check In 5-4

It's Wednesday and ROW 80 check in day.  I'm hip deep in edits for Stolen Destiny, part of my goals for this Round of Words in 80 Days.  As a result, my writing has decreased considerably, but that's to be expected.  My semester ended last Friday, and I've entered all my grades, so I'm officially on summer time!  Now if the weather here in PA would get with the program, life would be fantastic.  As it is, we are mired in cloudy and rainy days here.  But I'm looking forward to lots of time to write on this break after edits are completed.

Even though I'm swimming in edits, I have taken time to work with the artist who is creating my cover for Vampire Dreams, the novella I'm planning to have out in June.  I love the whole cover art process, and I can't wait to see the final product.  So far, I'm in love with what she's done.  I've even found the image I plan to use for the second novella, Love's Master, and I can't wait to see what she does with that cover.  What fun!

In addition, I've been mulling over ideas for the third novella that seems to be on the horizon.  I only planned on one, but the ideas seem to be there and I'm not feeling novel length yet, so another novella it is.  So far, I'm bouncing around the idea of a foreign diplomat--Russian, perhaps?--and a young English lady being drawn together in the late Victorian period.  The first two novellas had been set in the mid 19th century, but I'm feeling like this one will be closer to the end of that century--1870 and beyond.  I'll have to see where this one goes. 

And always in the back of my mind are edits on the second novel in the Destined Ones series, Destiny Redeemed.  However, they will have to wait until mid-June, at least.  I plan to have that ready to be published by Labor Day.

To see how everyone else is doing, stop over at the ROW 80 page. Have a great week!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Taste of Love's Master

Today I'm posting a taste of the current novella I'm working on, Love's Master. First, here's a blurb about the story.

23 year old Lily Norville finds herself widowed and forced to live with her brother and his family, including his eight year old son William, who is nothing short of a terror.  Sure she cannot go another day with his behavior, she begins to search for a new nanny and tutor for her nephew with little success.  But when she happens across an advertisement in the Times that seems to be the answer to her problem, she is set on a path that will take her where she's never been before.  Victorian England is a place of strict social codes, and the world she enters is strictly forbidden for a women of her social stature.

Her guide in this world is a man named Kadar, and the feelings he stirs in Lily threaten to change her forever.  However, Victorian society is never far away, and her brother intends on seeing his sister remarried and settled into a home near him in Regent's Park.  Lily will have to choose between Kadar,who makes her feel more alive than she ever believed she could and Captain Mason Danvers, the gentleman who can offer her security and comfort for the rest of her life. 

     Lily sat with a book in the parlor and struggled to tune out the din caused by her eight year old nephew. Repeatedly, he raced back and forth from the kitchen to where she sat, yelling and chasing the cat his parents had given him for his birthday one month earlier. In his wake were toys strewn all about that he’d repeatedly discarded in favor of something else that attracted his attention. At the moment, it was the cat, which luckily could run faster on four legs than William could on two.
     While she loved her brother’s child, she lamented the events of her life that had caused her to move in with him and his parents.
     If only...
   But Lily knew recriminations wouldn’t bring her husband back. Taken from her just three years into their marriage and before they could be blessed with a child of their own, he’d been a victim of the cholera epidemic that had ravaged the city. Now a widow, she had few choices but to look to her family for support and a place to call home.
     Her brother Richard and his wife Elizabeth had welcomed her with open arms, a fact she now suspected had masked their happiness at the prospect of having an additional adult to tend to their son. The reality was that no one had ever truly tended to William, and as a result, the child was incorrigible. Nannies came and went with alarming speed, as did tutors, who simply refused to deal with the child whose temper tantrums were legendary on Frederick Street. Few of their neighbors in the London suburb of Regent’s Park had escaped the scene of the young boy’s misbehavior.
     “William!” she snapped as she caught him by the arm.
    Stunned into stopping for a moment, he stood in front of her and stared up into her eyes in surprise. Lily looked at the deceptively angelic face looking back at her, knowing the facade was just that. Beneath his rosy cheeked expression was the terror of her temporary home.
    Holding him, she said, “William, I want you to sit down this minute. I will not tolerate this behavior any more.”
   Smiling, the child replied sweetly, “Alright Aunty Lily,” and when she released her hold on him, he promptly ran away screaming after the cat once more.
    Two hours later, Lily was sure she couldn’t stand another day of her nephew’s behavior but was just as sure she’d have to be the one to tackle the issue if it was ever to be solved. Scouring the newspaper advertisements for willing participants to replace the nanny and tutor, both of whom had recently left in utter frustration as their predecessors had, she recognized the names of many of the men and women who sought employment and knew no amount of money could entice them to return.
     Sadly, she was forced to admit the solution to her problem wouldn’t be found in the employment section of the Times. She continued to peruse the paper, at least hoping to find some diversion from the noise around her.
     “Aunty Lily, play with me!”
     “If I do, you must promise to behave. Do you understand?”
     “Yes, I promise.”
     With a great deal of direction, she found some measure of success in making him behave. When his parents finally returned from their time away nearly an hour later, she was set on broaching the discussion of what would have to be done with her nephew. If she didn’t, she was convinced she’d soon go mad.
     After a dinner that included more of William’s bad behavior and a temper tantrum over the suggestion he eat his vegetables, his mother took him to prepare for bed and Lily took the opportunity to discuss the situation with her brother.
     “Richard, I think something must be done with William.”
    Her brother looked past her, his face a practiced expression of feigned interest. “Everything will be better when we hire a new nanny and tutor.”
    “Please excuse my interference, but nothing is going to be better if William doesn’t learn to behave.”
     The silence that met her statement along with his continued stare past her told Lily he knew she was correct. It also told her that her suspicion was correct—if anything was to change, she would have to change it.
    Touching his hand, she continued in a far softer tone. “Richard, I appreciate how much you’ve done for me since Jeremy’s death. Let me help you with this.”
     She watched him sigh and drop his shoulders, as if in defeat. “Fine. You may be in charge of William’s behavior.”
     Lily rose to leave the table, but Richard stopped her. “I want to discuss something with you. I have someone I want you to meet. A gentleman.”
     “Lily, your mourning period has been over for months. You need to rejoin the world.”
     “I’m not out of the world, Richard.”
   “I invited Captain Mason Danvers to join us for dinner soon. He’s a wonderful man, a veteran of the battles in Afghanistan. I’m sure you’ll like him.”
     Quietly, she said, “I’m not sure I’m ready.”
     “I understand how difficult this is for you, but you’re a young woman who shouldn’t be stuck living with her relatives.”
     Lily knew that what her brother really meant was that as much as he loved her, he didn’t want to be forced to baby-sit a grown woman for any longer than society dictated. And that meant he was actively searching for a potential husband for her.
     All she hoped was that his choice was someone she could grow to like.
     Alone, she thought about the surprise life had thrown her. Married at eighteen to a  man who had swept her off her feet, she had taken to the role of wife easily, believing the rest of her life had been plotted out for her as it was for other women lucky enough to be successfully married.
     Jeremy had been the perfect husband, kind but with the ability to handle her stubborn streak. And as a lover, he’d been patient and devoted—just what any young woman would want to initiate her into the world of marriage.
   As the day faded into dusk, she remembered the feeling of having someone close as the night settled in. Sadness came over her as it always did when she thought of her husband’s passing before they’d had the opportunity to have a child. Reconciled to a life without Jeremy, she’d turned to Richard for help.
    But could she deal with the type of help he now offered? She sympathized with his desire to have her settled with another husband. Who wanted a 23 year old sister hanging about, especially a willful one? She couldn’t change who she was, but would this Mason Danvers want her as much as Richard wanted him to?
    Lily thought back to the one time she’d met Captain Danvers when Richard and Elizabeth had insisted she begin to socialize again and attend the Jarret’s Christmas party. Still in mourning, she’d relented and joined them, but looking back, she was sure she hadn’t made a positive impression dressed in her mourning clothes and wearing a look of sadness she’d accepted as fitting for a widow, even a young one.
    He’d struck her as confident, if not a little too brash, and a man who probably wouldn’t look twice at a woman like her, dressed in mourning garb or not. Tall and suntanned, with hair the color of wheat, he looked like a man who’d seen the world outside of England—the quintessential military man of the Empire. Lily, on the other hand, was the picture of English womanhood, with porcelain skin and brown hair. The only feature that set her apart from every other pale skinned brunette in London were her eyes. Deep green, they hinted at an eastern ancestry long buried in the Scott family.
    She’d never thought of herself as a beauty, no matter what Jeremy had told her, and as the memory of Mason Danvers grew in her mind, she wondered if Richard’s efforts to entice the man to marry her were all for naught, for what men like the Captain preferred were women to compliment them. And she was not that woman, in any sense of the word.
© 2011 Gabrielle Bisset